Forgot your password?
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
  • default color
  • green color
  • red color


Sep 29th
Home Sections Sports Pacquiao Defies Hard Times, Swine-Flu Epidemic
Pacquiao Defies Hard Times, Swine-Flu Epidemic PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
Sections - Sports
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Monday, 16 November 2009 11:13


(© 2009 Journal Group Link International)



C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – The popularity of Manny Pacquiao had defied hard economic times and the threat of the spread of the swine-flu epidemic.


Fil-Am Delight restaurant in Chicago, Illinois used to attract a handful of Filipinos to watch Pacquiao fights on HBO.


But last Saturday, Nov. 14, the small restaurant was filled to capacity to watch how the Filipino boxing icon would fare against the fearsome Puerto Rican champion Miguel Cotto.

The fight time was 10 p.m. Chicago (Central) time but as early as 6 p.m., Filipinos started trickling in into one of the Filipino American restaurants in Chicago area.


Angel “Elvis Presley” Jimenez, owner of the restaurant, could not explain the sudden surge of Filipinos and Filipino Americans, who would leave their homes to come to his place to watch the Pacquiao-Cotto fight.


“Ang daming nagpareserve at walk-in na mga kustomer.”  (Many placed their advanced reservations and there were also lots of walk-in- customers.), according to Mr. Jimenez, who performs on the side as Elvis Presley impersonator.


On one hand, Filipinos and Filipino Americans are not immune from hard economic times and nor are they oblivious of the spread of swine flu whose outbreak was declared by President Obama as a national emergency. Americans are not encouraged to get into crowded areas to avoid getting infected by the swine-flu virus.


And yet, they turned up in droves to cheer whenever Pacquiao landed a heavy blow on Cotto, which were plenty. They grimaced if Cotto returned the favor, which were few and far between.


At the start of the fight, this reporter asked some in the crowd whom they were rooting for. Expectedly, almost everybody was rooting for Pacquiao.


John Claridad, a Filipino lawyer-businessman in Chicago area, predicted a fourth- to fifth-round knockout of Cotto by Pacquiao; Mike Mangahis also favored Pacquiao to beat Cotto within six rounds.


Angel Jimenez and Leopoldo “Dondoy” Lanuza of Skokie, Illinois predicted Pacquiao to stop Cotto in the seventh round, as did this reporter. While both Joe and Ellen Balmadrid gave Pacquiao up to eighth round to destroy Cotto.


Only Bobby Sioson was pessimistic that Pacquiao “could even make it against Cotto.”


As the showing of the bout on a giant TV screen approached, everybody was felled with excitement and anticipation.

The atmosphere was like a fiesta. Everybody was looking forward to see a sporting event that they could not afford to miss.


It was an event, where they could identify with the struggles of their hero, win or loss.


In the early rounds, there was a guarded silence as Cotto dominated somewhat the rounds.


But there was uproar when Pacquaio knocked down Cotto in the third and fourth rounds. The atmosphere was never the same again.

From the fifth round on, everybody was anticipating that Pacquiao was going for the kill.


For every solid blow that Pacman landed, there were some shrieks and muffled screams.


But all hell broke loose when referee Skip Bayless stopped the fight 55 seconds into the 12th round to prevent Cotto from absorbing more punishments from Pacman.


And just like the celebration in Chicago, it was replicated around the world by other Filipinos who were similarly watching the pay-per-view over HBO.


Watching Pacquiao fight has also become a reason to network and keep up and to hold a reunion from time to time. Some of them even switched work shifts with their co-workers so they could not miss the fight.


Even non-Filipinos will break a conversation with Filipinos by mentioning Pacquiao.


The ability of Pacquiao has also endeared him to Puerto Rican fans. The husband of my niece, Joy R. Estrada, from Puerto Rico told me before the fight that he was betting for Pacquiao.


Editor’s Note: Please read a related article,
The Pacquiao-Cotto Championship Bout Is Like a Fight Between “Cousins”


P olo Estrada told me that after watching Pacquiao beat his Mexican opponents, he had become a Pacquiao fan.


It was one of those nights when Filipinos overseas were able to watch and celebrate the greatness of one of its own.


However, the run-up of the Pacquiao-Cotto fight has also generated a controversy between a handful of anti-Pacquiao fans, who believed that there was no way that Pacquiao could beat Cotto, unless the fight was “fixed.” They claimed that Pacquiao’s early victories against De la Hoya and Hatton “remained hollow, either a product of the ‘mob’ and the dirty Mafia business in the boxing world of Las Vegas or simply a display of ‘Pacquiao’s choice of weak,” unworthy boxers, whose time have passed, ‘laos at wala nang ibubuga.’”


In its editorial, the Chicago-based Fil-Am Weekly MegaScene said, “When one of our own goes out to compete against other races or perform before a world audience, that person becomes every Filipino man and woman. Win or lose, that person deserves nothing but support from his or her people. In defeat, we embrace and love him; in victory, we applaud and honor him. To do otherwise is to lose your identity. To be nameless, faceless and worst of all, shameless!”


And like all good things, this kind of phenomenon may soon come to an end if Pacquiao will call it a career after a couple of more fights.


By stepping down while he is on top of his game, Manny will only let his legend grow.


After all, he has nothing to prove. He is now one of the greatest boxers of all time, if not the greatest, that will be his ticket to the Boxing Hall of Fame.


His seventh title in seventh weight classes can be a record that will be unmatched for a very long time. (



© opyright 2009 The Journal Group Link International. The contents provided in the JGLi may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of the Journal Group Link International.



(Editor’s Note: Watch out for the upcoming outlet-oriented, subscription-based website of Journal Group Link International that guarantees originally sourced stories, features, photos, audios and videos and multi-media contents.)

Newer news items:
Older news items:

Last Updated on Monday, 16 November 2009 11:17

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
Comment (you may use HTML tags here):

Quote of the Day

"Every time a baseball player grabs his crotch, it makes him spit. That's why you should never date a baseball player."--Marsha Warfield